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Client won't pay after work is done

Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
21 of 35

@Tom W wrote:

Was the client's payment method verified? 


Don't know how to check this or what it means.


Did the client have a history of hiring and paying freelancers, with feedback?


Again don't know how to check that, his name is just his name that is it. Where is said links? Provide URL please?



Go to any job posting, preferably the one you applied for with this particular client.




This window on the right (see above) gives you lots of useful info, including whether the payment method is verified.


Underneth the actual job posting you see the previous contracts the client had with other freelancers, and their feedback.


As for whether I am qualified to comment or not, that is clearly up to you to decide.


One of us has been screwed over twice in 2 client interactions. That's a 100% failure rate.


One of us has successfully completed over 80 contracts, and logged over 6400 paid hours here, pluscountless fixed rate contracts, with clear 5star feedback.


The latter is also the one who's never had a problem getting paid for any of the work they did.


I rest my case.


 PS, one would have thought you'd have figured out SOMETHING after the first client messed you around. You didn't make the same mistake twice in a row, because only the first time it is "a mistake" - the second time it's called "a choice"

Active Member
Tom W Member Since: Sep 14, 2015
22 of 35

Recently I started to work on here, my first two clients have had me do work for them and then refused to pay. Because they did not open the contract (which they told me they would do) I am being barked at by some woman that I have no rights and that there is nothing i can do.


I do not want any of you to get in this mess either, so I would recommend if you get in this situation just share the knowledge as much as you can with other freelancers because upwork will not help for jack and they have a real bad attitude about it also like they are above what they said.


Ultimately they are a bunch of hypocritical theifs that are fine in taking a percentage of your money, but not fine in helping you when you get stitched up using their website.


Don't expect them to help as you can go and see my thread in this forum and they will not do jack about it just want bark at me and write nonsense - even themself is have an argument over what information to provide. What a mockery of this profession. I have been tricked into doing work for free and not got paid. If this was a physical work agency we would have human rights but becasuse it is virtual online they do not care at all and are fine with a it being a lawless wilderness. = Pure Thiefs.

Active Member
Martin G Member Since: Sep 10, 2015
23 of 35

Hi Tom,


It's horrible that your first experience was a bad one.


As a regular user of this website, my advice is two-fold :-

1. Where possible do hourly jobs via the time-tracker as you are better protected and pretty much guaranteed to get paid.

2. If you get a fixed price job, do the work on your own hosting account (get a cheap one of you don't already own one) and protect the source code. Let the client test it but don't hand over source code until the bill has been paid.


Stick with it and hard as it is now, try to put this behind you and chalk it up to experience.


Best regards


Active Member
Tom W Member Since: Sep 14, 2015
24 of 35

Yeh I would do that if they would of opened it but they just tricked me out of it. I thought helped people and would ban them or something but instead they just protect them.


So no justice, no peace.

Community Guru
Evelina H Member Since: Jan 29, 2015
25 of 35

Tom, I've met clients who want things their way and trick you into working without a contract, etc, but I am always cautious about such behaviour and just stop communicating with them.


My advice to you (and often to my clients) is - Start work ONLY after the contract is started here at Upwork. Only then can Upwork help you, you can dispute the client's behaviour, etc. You have a way to prove that you actually have a working relationship. Also, communicate as often as you can via Upwork. I do that mainly because, if anything should happen (like the situation you describe) I will have proof that I submitted work and we were active in communication. It never came to use all that, but it's kind of like a safety net for the future. I am very careful what clients to work with and if I feel like the client is too rude or talks little or shows little respect, I just never open a contract with them. Spend some time getting to know your future client before committing to a contract.


I know that being new to a freelance platform (or freelancing in the first place) requires time to get used to it, and also to know what to look for and how to protect yourself, but you will have to learn. I sincerely wish you luck with your future clients and never work without a contract! I can't stress that enough! Once you actually approve their job offer and you see it part of your job contracts page, only then can you start working.


P.S. You seem to be really qualified in your field, so I am sure will quickly find new work. Take that experience as a lesson learned. Of course, I can only imagine how frustrated you are right now, I feel for you! My work had also been exploited, but I learned that I value my work and time, and don't work unless I have some sort of proof that I will actually get paid. At least, here in Upwork, you can dispute when you have a contract. And again, post your work here at upwork, via the messaging system as another proof that you actually worked. I know that the client may want to communicate with you via skype, etc. and you can definitely do that, but persist in posting your work via Upwork. Explain it to the client if you must, if they are reliable and understanding, they won't mind. At least I hope so. That's how I've been working so far and my previous (and current) clients don't mind.


Another thing is of course, if posted work via Upwork, is deemed 'proof' that you worked and if it may help in any dispute.

Community Leader
Sandeep C Member Since: Oct 24, 2013
26 of 35

Too bad you are tricked twice. Try to be a little carefull. You said-


Tom W wrotetruedon wrote:

Recently I started to work on here, my first two clients have had me do work for them and then refused to pay. Because they did not open the contract 



It apperas that you start working without getting a contract. In this regard Upwork cannot help. Next time start work only after contract has been awarded.


Hope that you have better experience. Good luck.




Community Guru
Scott E Member Since: Jul 26, 2015
27 of 35

Upwork aren't thieves. Some of the people that use Upwork are thieves. To stop those thieves, Upwork have processes in place to protect clients and to protect freelancers. You either didn't know about these processes or you chose to ignore them.


I'm sorry you got scammed, but if you'd read up on how Upwork works and how to stay safe, then this wouldn't have happened... twice.


Like Ebay... if you email a new seller and they tell you to send $100 directly to their Paypal account and they'll send you the item.... Ebay aren't thieves if you never get the item and they won't help. The seller is a thief. You need to stick in a bid or click the buy it now button before you can take advantage of their safety measures.  

"Welcome, humans. I'm ready for you!"
- Box, Logan's Run (1976)
Community Guru
Natasa M Member Since: May 8, 2014
28 of 35

You received a lot of encouragement and understanding in this thread.


I have a zero ounce of empathy for you and I think you knew exactly what you were doing when you were taking work of the platform. 


The thing that amazes me though is such self-entitled, bratty attitude and a total lack of insight-you really are a gem in that regard. 


So you don't want to pay 10% to the platform but you expect that they help you when your "client" disappears? What for? For what money? Out of goodness of their heart?


Anyway I am a moron for commenting on this at all, but due to this type of people, my tickets are left unanswered for days at the time (and I am paying my 10% fee.)


To Upwork -please stop accommodating people like this and focus on problems of us who actually pay you for a service.

Community Guru
Hanna N Member Since: Jun 17, 2015
29 of 35

"I have been tricked into doing work for free and not got paid. If this was a physical work agency we would have human rights but becasuse it is virtual online they do not care at all --."


But this is not an agency. This is a job posting platform where you create a profile and that, when certain conditions are met, guarantees your pay. These conditions have not been met in your case. You have not worked for or through UpWork, you have worked on a contract posted on their website, which you have effectively done off-site, since there is no contract in place. 


You should read Scott's eBay example with some thought. That is exactly the sort of situation you are in.


And like said in another thread, lunging at this "some woman" is really bad form.

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
30 of 35

I do not believe that there is some OTHER freelancing platform out there where you can do work after just talking to clients via Skype, and the platform will guarantee payment even though no formal agreement was reached through the platform.